Statement by Mr. Mohamed Tawfik, Chargé d'affaires of the Arab Republic of Egypt, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on the stocktaking of the implementation of the work programme based on indicators of achievements, at the Mid-term Review Process

Geneva, 28 January 2002

Madam Chairman,

1. The Group of 77 and China attaches considerable importance to the exercise of stocktaking. We believe that this process will help us to assess the substantive progress made by UNCTAD, both the intergovernmental bodies and the secretariat, in the implementation of the Plan of Action adopted in Bangkok. We would like to state from the beginning that it is our understanding, as was rightly pointed out by the Secretary-General and by most delegations, that this is not an exercise of renegotiating the outcome of UNCTAD X. It is rather a possibility to take stock of what has been done and what remains to be done between now and UNCTAD XI.

2. The document produced by the secretariat (TD/B(S-XIX)/L.1) is comprehensive and provides useful information on the entire range of activities of the secretariat, encompassing both regular budget activities and technical cooperation. Such a document, to our knowledge, is unique in the United Nations in as far as it provides not only an extensive description of the activities but also attempts to make an assessment of the results achieved. While the document is uneven on this latter point, we feel that overall the secretariat should be congratulated for the thorough and hard work they put into the preparation of this document.

3. We would like to stress that there is a close relationship in between the discussions that we will have here on stocktaking and the parallel debates taking place on pillar one. We feel that the conclusions that we might come to, in particular in respect to future areas of emphasis, should be closely related to the themes that might be selected for the UNCTAD intergovernmental bodies in the next two years. We presume Madam Chair that you and Ambassador Cuello will be in close contact so as to ensure the coherence in between pillar one and pillar two. Similarly, “stocktaking” may constitute a substantive contribution for the third pillar. While legally the third pillar is completely different from pillar one and pillar two, the conclusions we may reach on “stocktaking” may provide some food for thought for the brainstorming session under pillar three. We would like to be clear on this point in a sense that we do not see a need for any formal transmission of the outcome of the stock-taking to pillar three but simply that the results of our consideration of UNCTAD’s activities will be in the minds of those discussing global issues as well as the role of UNCTAD in the coming years.

4. The stocktaking should be a pragmatic and business-like exercise. We believe that the way in which you conceived the discussions on this pillar is an appropriate one. Indeed, it will be useful to hear presentations from the directors of the divisions on their specific areas of activity following, which we, member States, would be able to provide our own assessment and draw appropriate conclusions. In this respect we feel that the structure that you have proposed could help us significantly. We agree therefore to focus first on what has been done since Bangkok and, in this context, to highlight in particular the results achieved and the lessons learned in order to improve our work and activities for the future. Identically, on what will need to be done in between now and UNCTAD XI your focus on future areas of work is an appropriate one.
5. Of course, during our deliberations we need to take into account the outcome of major international conferences. We look forward to seeing how these latest developments could be integrated in the activities of UNCTAD. We had already a model in the outcome of the recently concluded session of the Commission on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues.

6. With respect to the procedure, we believe that it will be most useful if we will be able to finalize all our discussions on pillar two, as well as on pillar one in Geneva before we go to Bangkok. We should aim therefore to have at the end of this process a short document of maximum 10-12 pages that will summarize the outcome of our discussions. We suggest even more that you, eventually with the help of the secretariat, try to clear the summary of our deliberations in a gradual manner. More specifically, it will be practical if after the end of this formal session the draft summary could be prepared and the text then cleared in between now and the next formal session of the Mid-term Review scheduled for mid-February. This will help us in making progress in the preparation of the final document in such a way to finish completely by the end of March. There may remain some elements that may need to be discussed in the final formal setting which relate essentially to coherence with pillar one and pillar three but we should make every effort that a clean document be ready before the third formal meeting of the Mid-term Review.

7. These were a number of preliminary points and we intend to develop them during the discussion of individual programmes. We would like to assure you from the beginning of our full cooperation in such a way that this joint endeavour by member States and the secretariat will assist in making UNCTAD even more responsive to the needs of the developing countries.

Thank you Madam Chairman.